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Virginia Coach Bronco Mendenhall Abruptly Steps Down

Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall stunned college football fans when the Cavaliers announced that he decided to step down following the team's bowl game. 

“It has been a privilege to have Bronco Mendenhall direct the Virginia football team over the past six seasons,” Virginia athletics director Carla Williams said in a statement. “He has done an exceptional job of not just transforming the program, but elevating the expectations for the program. He has established the necessary foundation to propel our football team upward. He is more than a football coach and the impact he has had on these young men will be a positive influence for the rest of their lives."

Williams and university president Jim Ryan did ask the 55-year-old to stay, Mendenhall said, but it was his choice to step down after "31 straight years of football." 

Mendenhall said, "My wife and I will have been married 25 years in March. All we've known together is the rhythm of football season. That's all my kids have known, and this January, all three will be gone. Holly and I are empty nesters."

He added that the chaos of the coaching carousel from this week gave "a sense of clarity to me that I need to step back from college football and reassess, renew, reframe and reinvent with my wife as a partner, our future and the next chapter of our lives." 

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This week Florida hired Louisiana's Billy Napier to replace Dan Mullen, Lincoln Riley shocked fans as he left Oklahoma for USC and Notre Dame's Brian Kelly abruptly departed for LSU

Mendenhall added that his wife was "a little stunned and shocked" by his decision, but he believes "a renewal and a pause and a reframing and a reinventing and a reconnecting is necessary to then become the very best person I can be moving forward." 

The 55-year-old has spent six seasons with Virginia, leading the program to a a 36–38 record (including a 6–6 record this season). This is the fifth consecutive time the Cavaliers will be bowl eligible under Mendenhall's watch. He led the Cavaliers to the 2019 ACC Coastal Division championship and their first New Year’s Six Bowl appearance in the 2019 Orange Bowl.

Mendenhall has been a head coach for 17 years, featuring a stint from 2005 to '15 at BYU, and has compiled a 135–81 head coaching record. 

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